The marketing paradigm shift from “outbound” (old-fashioned broadcasting) to “inbound” (being found when someone searches for your products or services) is not an easy change to make. If you’ve worked with traditional marketing for years, this new sharing environment is mystifying. The traditional way was to sell, sell, sell, toot your own horn, yell out, “We’re the best!” Salespeople are encouraged to contact as many people as possible to get their pitch in front of a potential customer.
Not anymore. Nowadays, that’s considered spamming.
I see it all the time in social media. The biggest culprits are LinkedIn members.
Just because I’m connected with you, or we’re both in a group together, doesn’t mean I want to buy your product, get in on the latest business “opportunity” or use your services!
Here’s a recent example. I accepted this gal’s invitation to connect. I don’t know her personally, but my objective in connecting on LinkedIn with as many people as possible is not just that each person is a potential client, but they may know someone who would be interested in my services. That’s networking – it’s not who you know, but who your friends know.
The next day I get an email via LinkedIn from her:
“I know that we’ve never met, but I appreciate you accepting my connection!”
“…I’m inviting others to take a look at what was shared with me in hopes of finding entrepreneurial types looking for a flexible part-time business that works around the rest of their busy lives…”
Sorry, not interested. I reported her as spam. LinkedIn is very strict when it comes to spammers – whether in groups or in direct emails. (LinkedIn’s Spam Policy – it’s in the user agreement; you clicked “I agree” when you joined.) Spam is any unsolicited email promotion. Get reported as spam enough and LinkedIn will suspend your membership.
Another one is when the email says on the top that you share a group or network with the person sending it. There are software programs and services out there to help people spam their connection or fellow group members. Don’t use them! Taking shortcuts or cheating will get you nowhere.
There are no shortcuts in social media!
But wait! I need to sell or I don’t make money! True. So the trick now is to share your expertise. Give away little tidbits of advice. The more often you do it, the more people will relate you with your expertise in your industry. And when they, or a friend of theirs, needs your product or service, they’ll find you!
It’s time to Stop Selling & Start Sharing!
Here are some ways to share and indirectly toot your horn:
- Customer testimonials – let someone else toot your horn for you. Make sure you have their permission to use their image, quote or video in a model release
- FAQs – every business has frequently asked questions. Each one of those can be a blog post
- Lists – 10 ways to _______
- Share or quote industry leaders
- How to tips
- Be useful
- Be educational
- “Don’t let this happen to you!”
- The 10-4-1 Rule – “It’s not all about you!”
- Be classy when inviting people to an event. “This is a special invitation…” Select recipients carefully. Make sure they really would be interested.
One of the best books you can invest in is “Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype” by Jay Baer.
“Help not Hype”
It’s a soft sell. At the end of your blog post, put your call-to-action. You give your tip, then say if you need help, or would like to try, etc., click here. And you send them to a form or shopping cart.
It takes time.
Getting results with social media and content marketing takes time. The 3 “Ps” of inbound marketing:
- Persistence – consistently put out good useful content
- Perseverance – keep at it, blog at least once a week, 2-3 times a week is optimum
- Patience – it takes 3-6 months to build a following and to start seeing results
“Those who listen to instruction will prosper.” ~Solomon